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Friends of Hartlebury Common
Hartlebury Common and Charlton Butterfly Transect 2017 Report
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The total number of butterflies recorded on the transect in 2017 was up on last year, 734 compared to 663, but still below the average (893) for the 6 transects since 2011. See the table below for the year figures. In 2011 someone else did the transect, and I have include it in the table. There was no transect done in 2012.

Total number of butterflies 2011 to 2017

2011

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Average

833

1287

860

978

663

734

893

 

Over the 6 years the overall trend is down. This is in line with the national trends. This is worrying as butterflies are a good indication of the general health of the environment.

However there are some positives. The trend for the butterflies that are specialists on lowland heaths, Green Hairstreak and Small Heath, were both up on last year and the five year trend is up. See table below. (I have not included 2011 in this table because I have no figures for individual species.) Green Hairsteaks are notoriously difficult to record on transects, when you have to keep moving, and spotting a green butterfly on green leaves is not easy! While the increase from 2 to 3 might not sound much, there were many more reports of Green Hairsteaks being seen than in previous years, and I think we should be optimistic about the future of this butterfly on the common. The number of Small Heaths is also up on last year and the 5 year trend is up. The figures for both of these butterflies gives some indication that our efforts in the work-parties are having a positive effect on the health of the common. 

Green Hairsteak and Small Heath

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Ave

Green Hairstreak

0

5

0

2

3

2

Small Heath

9

38

8

19

27

20

 

 

Looking at the 5 year trend for the different species, five species show positive growth: Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Green hairstreak and Small heath. Four species are about level: Large White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Twelve species show significant declines: Small and Essex Skippers, Large Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Small Copper, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, and Marbled White. The decline in Skippers and Marble White has mainly been in sections of the transect not on the common, where there have been changes in the cutting times of meadows and margins over the last two years. Some of the declining trends are more serious than others, some are in line with national trends and some not. Taking national and local trends together the most serious declines appear to be in the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. See below for figures for all the species recorded on Hartlebury Common and Charlton.

 

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Average

Trend

Small/Essex skipper

49

53

38

21

11

34

Down

Large Skipper

19

21

20

10

3

15

Down

Brimstone

6

2

3

2

2

3

Down

Large White

59

14

32

42

43

38

Level

Small White

34

52

41

38

21

37

Down

Green-veined White

128

20

51

78

15

58

Down

Orange Tip

24

27

17

51

15

27

Down

Small Copper

19

16

10

13

10

14

Down

Brown Argus

0

1

2

0

0

 

 

Common Blue

23

8

16

7

2

11

Down

Holly Blue

4

1

0

12

6

5

Up

Red Admiral

3

17

19

8

12

12

Up

Small Tortoiseshell

43

59

55

14

12

37

Down

Peacock

62

84

61

7

6

44

Down

Comma

28

21

14

12

19

19

Down

Speckled Wood

34

52

41

38

65

46

Up

Green Hairstreak

0

5

0

2

3

2

Up

Marbled White

5

10

12

0

1

6

Down

Gatekeeper

154

95

219

108

193

154

Level

Meadow Brown

220

182

184

80

182

197

Level

Small Heath

9

38

8

19

27

20

Up

Ringlet

110

94

109

45

89

88

Level

 

Most frequently recorded Butterflies by year

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

1

Small White

 

Meadow Brown

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper

2

Meadow Brown

 

Gatekeeper

Meadow Brown

Small White

Meadow Brown

3

Gatekeeper

 

Ringlet

Ringlet

Meadow Brown

Ringlet

4

Green Veined White

Peacock

Small White

Green-Veined White

Speckled Wood

5

Ringlet

Small

Tortoiseshell

Peacock

Orange Tip

Large White

6

Peacock

Small/Essex Skippers

Small  Tortoiseshell

Ringlet

Small Heath

7

Large White

Speckled Wood

Green-Veined White

Large White

Small White

8

Small/Essex Skipper

Small White

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Comma

9

Speckled Wood

Small Heath

Small/Essex Skipper

Small/Essex Skipper

Orange Tip

10

Comma

Orange Tip

Large White

Small Heath

Red Admiral + Small Tortoiseshell